Published at: June 18, 2002, 9:43 a.m. CST by staff
Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
I’m flummoxed. I’m befuddled. I’m just plain confusimified. And it all has to do with something that was stumbled over by one of our chat room regulars, Ronie J. Whalen, a long-time veteran of the bloody flame wars of alt.movies.kubrick and other newsgroups. He’s a nice guy with a particular love of all things animated, and he was poking around a website, looking at the voice-over resumes of some of the people who worked on TINY TOONS, a show he is fond of. In doing so, though, he found something... puzzling.
I am a giant, raving fan of Bill Watterson’s brilliant, moving, transcendent work of art, CALVIN & HOBBES. I believe it may well be one of the purest, most honest pieces in any medium about how imagination works during childhood. Just this weekend, I bought my girlfriend a collection of CALVIN & HOBBES strips to introduce her to the comic, since she grew up in Argentina and never read it before. One of the things that I respect most about the work Watterson did is the way he refused all opportunities to commercialize the comic through merchandising and licensing. He must have turned down millions and millions of dollars worth of potential profit over the years. Any time you see a sticker on the back of someone’s car of Calvin taking a piss, it’s a bootleg. That’s going completely against the wishes of the creator of the strip. Same thing with any t-shirts or toys or anything. If it’s not one of the books, it’s a bootleg. Watterson always wanted to keep his creation pure. Selling the characters out was, to him, the same as selling out childhood. It is to his enormous credit as a person and as a serious artist that he never did it.
The rumor I’ve always heard is that Watterson started work on an animated film, completely free of the influence of any studios, on his own, working largely by hand, and that he’s been working on it for years now, a la Richard Williams with THE THIEF & THE COBBLER. I can’t begin to verify this, of course. I’ve tried over the years. I’d love to know for sure if it was happening, and I had started to make peace with the idea that it was probably nothing but a good rumor, one of the “too good to be true” types.
And then Ronie steered me to a couple of links tonight that have got me curious again.
First, there’s a link to a resume for an actress named Tress MacNeille. Her various characters are all listed alphabetically, and midway down the list, she says she voiced “Miss Wormwood” for CALVIN & HOBBES.
Okay. Maybe she’s crazy, I thought when Ronie pointed it out to me. Maybe she’s confused about something. Admittedly, it seems like a stretch to think that she just plain got something wrong on her resume, but how could it be that she’d reveal that so casually if it’s part of a secret production. And it would have to be a secret. I haven’t seen anything official written anywhere. I had almost convinced myself that it was a total accident, a mistake, when Ronie sent me another link.
This time, it was for an actor named Charlie Adler, who lists on his resume that he did the voice for Hobbes. Again, for CALVIN & HOBBES. So that’s two actors, both claiming that they’ve done voices for an animated project that, according to all other evidence, DOES NOT EXIST.
So what the hell is going on?!
I’m more determined now than ever to figure out if there’s something going on here, if there’s a film or maybe an animated special that exists somewhere, and if you have any info on it, I hereby order you to write me and spill the beans. I know, I know... “trust and secrets and blah blah blah.” This is CALVIN & HOBBES, man!! I have to know!!
Special thanks to Reemst.com for providing the groovy C&H animations that grace the page today.